Introducing the Arts House Creative Advisory Group
Our 2022-24 Creative Advisory Group members
The Arts House Creative Advisory Group is a regular and collaborative forum in which significant conceptual and curatorial questions for contemporary arts practice are examined and shared.
Its purpose is to ensure the Arts House Creative team are consulting widely, thinking broadly and engaging rigorously in contemporary cultural thinking and concerns, while also consistently refreshing circles of knowledge and networks. For CAG members, the forum provides transparency to Arts House’s curatorial process, and enhances an environment of safety, care and reflection in our work.
The Creative Advisory Group meet three times per year, attend Arts House shows, and provide feedback and input against our Artistic Vision. They represent one strand of our Curatorial Methodology. You can read about our other approaches here.
We are delighted to introduce our 2022-24 Creative Advisory Group members.
Uncle Larry Walsh
Uncle Larry Walsh is a local Aboriginal cultural leader and storyteller. He particularly loves working with the younger generation as he sees them as the torch-bearers of the future. Inspired by his local Aboriginal community, plus his own Kulin ancestral blood connections to his country, Uncle is one of the only senior Elders in Melbourne who focuses specifically on storytelling, ensuring the cultural continuity of his ancient oral traditions.
Uncle Larry is a pure storyteller. He sees his focus being on the oral tradition, the story – as an important expression and make up of Aboriginal culture. He wishes to display that Aboriginal people live as much in the modern world as intimately as they are connected to their past.
Lorna Hannan has lived in North Melbourne for over 50 years and watched the many changes that have made it a distinctive place to live in. Her father was the headmaster of the Errol Street State School, the school that all four of her own children attended as well as a mix of cousins and later quite a high proportion of her grandchildren. Links with the area have given Lorna’s life a richness that she treasures and many stories to enjoy and retell. From 2015-2022, Lorna has been a leading contributor to Arts House’s Refuge project: it has given her the opportunity to harvest these local stories and to savour the art of conversation.
Irihipeti Waretini is of Ngāti Rangi descent, whose multi-disciplinary practice is determined by the cosmos. Decolonising self-care practises, Irihipeti is a visual and vocal storyteller whose mediums include contemporary Māori art, photography, film making, personal essays, song writing, live looping and kōauau (traditional Māori flute). Inspired by architectural lighting, Indigenous creation stories, theatre and a passion for community cultural development, Irihipeti creates experiential art and ritual to rebuild and maintain sustainable, regenerative practices of community care.
Her most recent position as co-curator Djeembana Whakaora: First Nations Health & Healing exhibition with ANZCA’s Geoffrey Kaye Museum, she also filmed and photographed many of the artists and their creations. Throughout 2020-21 lockdowns, Irihipeti debuted a number of collaborative works including a 3-part film series Tēnei tō matou kainga which included moving portraiture for Maribyrnongs Together Apart Digital Festival, an audio-visual care package for Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Shelter, and an installation for Arts House’s Housewarming program. Over this time, Irihipeti also completed a 6 month residency for Brimbank City Council as a project artist where she debuted her directorial skills in the performance ritual Ipu Tī.
Nikki Lam is an artist, curator and producer based in Naarm. Working primarily with moving images, her work explores hybridity and memory through the contemplation on time, space and impermanence. Born in Hong Kong, her work deals with the complexity of migratory expressions. Her current research focuses on artistic agency during cultural, social and political transitions, particularly within the context of digital and screen cultures. With an expanded practice in writing, exhibition and festival making, she is interested in exploring anti-colonial methods in artistic and curatorial practice. Nikki is co-director of Hyphenated Projects and Hyphenated Biennial, and curator-at-large at The Substation. She was the Artistic Director of Channels video art festival, alongside many hybrid roles in the arts including at ACMI, Next Wave and Footscray Community Arts Centre. Nikki has a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Photomedia (2009, Monash University) and Executive Master of Arts (2014, University of Melbourne). She is a current PhD (Art) candidate at RMIT University.
Hailing from the Kimberley region of north-Western Australia, Bebe Backhouse a Bardi Jawi creator who’s called Narrm (Melbourne) home for ten years. Beginning his creative practice as a classical pianist and composer, Bebe was awarded a West Australian Youth Award at twenty-one for his work as a music teacher to young Indigenous people. He later made a name for himself as a creative producer and director of youth theatre, festivals, and public art projects across Australia, including international dance and theatre projects in New Zealand, France and Belgium. While holding senior positions at leading public arts organisations in Melbourne, Bebe successfully fostered many artistic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives to showcase their work in mainstream platforms, allowing Traditional Culture to thrive in the public realm.
A leader in designing and producing high-profile programs and strategic projects for Australia’s diverse communities, Bebe is a frequent commentator on the arts and culture community, with a passion for advocacy, advancement, and the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
After being published in the Anita Heiss anthology ‘Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia’, Bebe shifted his career to focus on clinical health and community engagement yet continues to share his life experiences through his writing, with the hope of enabling connection and inspiration.
Bebe’s debut solo publication, ‘More than These Bones’, is due to be released in 2022.
Fjorn Bastos is queer woman of Anglo and South Asian heritages whose work interrogates the aesthetics of political representation and cultural supremacy in the context of the colony. She is a sound and visual artist, consultant, researcher, and community organiser.
As an artist, she works primarily in experimental electronic dance music and narrativised-performance under the name Papaphilia.
She is a director of creative sector consultancy Future Tense and co-producer of the Writing and Concepts lecture series. Her core research focuses on how forms of colonial governance use racialised and sexualised discourses to shape the political. In turn, she invests in the shared creative imaginaries that work to deteriorate colonial force and control; coordinating community-based projects focussed on racial and gender equity that cross disciplinary fields. Examples include the facilitation of artist and socio-political workshops, advocacy campaigning, and developing community-led programs.
Currently, Fjorn is a long-term seat holder for Seat at the Table – a shared workspace administered by Moreland Council prioritizing and supporting creatives, academics, and political works focused on racial and gender equity. She is also assisting in the development of Blak Pearl – a community-led creative studio for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in the City of Yarra – a place for the community to gather, self-organize, and heal through creative avenues.
Yunuen Perez is an artist, producer, and curator of Mexican descent living in Naarm/Melbourne since 2007. She has a record of self-devising art and community exhibitions focusing on diversity, inclusion, and representation of the Latin-American diaspora in the Australian cultural landscape.
Yunuen was an international student at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), striving to gain professional experience in Melbourne´s theatre scene. Established designers Richard Roberts and Dale Ferguson invited Yunuen to be a design assistant in the Melbourne Theatre Company productions of Frost Nixon, God of Carnage, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Simultaneously, Yunuen was an active member of the indie sector, designing costumes for fellow VCA graduates, award-winning directors Gary Abrahams and Samara Hersch.
In 2013, Yunuen took the risk to self-produce her most ambitious creative project to date with fellow Mexican artist Sissy M Reyes. Mextli, Mexican Goddesses is a photographic exhibition that reflected on their artistic practices, emphasizing cross-cultural aesthetics and the power of the image. The exhibition challenged the perception of Latin-American migrant narratives and stereotypes exacerbated by consumer and kitsch culture.
Her latest curatorial collaboration gained her a nomination for the 2019 Victorian Community History Awards presented by Public Record Office Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria to recognise the work of individuals and organisations that preserve and share Victoria’s history.
Kath Duncan (she/her) is a writer, researcher, performer, producer. Kath has been writing and performing since she was six years old, and has been involved specifically in disability arts for 35 years. Kath coproduced the disability-led spoken word cabaret troupe, Quippings: Disability Unleashed from 2010-2020; Kath has represented Australian disabled artists in Amsterdam, Manchester, Liverpool, Bangkok, Washington DC and around Oz and is the winner of the 2020 Australia Council Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development.
Between 2017-20 Kath was Chairperson/Research Associate of an Australian Research Council project called Disability and the Performing Arts in Australia: Beyond the Social Model. Kath planned eight national inclusive performance workshops, with a core team and 300 participants. Kath is one of the original consultants on Arts House’s Disability & Inclusion Advisory Committee, and is presently writing and workshopping her own plays, having just acquired a Masters in Theatre Writing at VCA. Kath’s main passion is access and inclusion in the arts.
Luke Duncan King
Luke Duncan King is a visual artist, whose practice is grounded in printmaking and extends into video, performance and other art forms. He has an interest in collaboration, and has performed or co-created works with choreographers, dancers, performers, and other visual artists, in public and private museums and galleries. He has been a board member for the Arts Access Victoria for more than 4 years and has participated in several art organisations as an Artist, a Deaf community rep and a creative advisor. Luke is a co-founder with Geoff Riding of Magic Hands, which teaches Deaf-led classes in beginner and intermediate Auslan. Luke completed a BFA (Hons) at the VCA in 2015.
Jonathan Craig is a writer, policy advisor, audio producer and accessibility consultant. From 2018 to 2021 he was Editor of the quarterly magazine from Blind Citizens Australia, where he was credited with transforming the publication. He has also been a member of the Program Advisory Committee for Emerging Writers Festival, and has been a consultant on several Arts House projects, including co-devising The Warehouse Residency program for Deaf and Disabled artists. A lifelong science fiction fan, he’s interested in exploring the consequences of post-humanism and the future of disability.
Moorina Bonini is a proud descendant of the Yorta Yorta Dhulunyagen family clan of Ulupna and the Yorta Yorta and Wurundjeri Briggs/McCrae family. Moorina is an artist whose works are informed by her experiences as an Aboriginal and Italian woman. Her practice is driven by a self-reflexive methodology that enables the reexamination of lived experiences that have influenced the construction of her cultural identity. By unsettling the narrative placed upon Aboriginal people as a result of colonisation of Aboriginal Australia, Bonini’s practice is based within Indigenous Knowledge systems and brings this to the fore.
Moorina holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts. Moorina is currently a research candidate at Monash University where she is undertaking a PhD within the Wominjeka Djeembana Research Lab. Her work has been exhibited in various shows and galleries such as Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Sydney Festival, Blak Dot Gallery, c3 Contemporary Art Space, Centre for Contemporary Photography, KINGS, SEVENTH Gallery, Bus Projects, Koorie Heritage Trust and Brunswick Street Gallery. Moorina has produced and co-curated art and cultural programs across RMIT University and the University of Melbourne.
Images courtesy of the artist.